Faith is more than assent

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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Thomas Manton:

John 17:20. – “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”

Here is the object, Christ; the ground, warrant, and instrumental cause, and that is the word. The warrant must be distinguished from the object; the warrant is the word, and the proper object of faith is Christ, as considered in his mediatory office. Sometimes the act of faith is terminated on the person of Christ and sometimes on the promise, to show there is no closing with Christ without the promise and no closing with the promise without Christ; as in a contract there is not only a receiving of the lease or conveyance, but a receiving of lands by virtue of such a deed and conveyance. So there is a receiving of the word, and a receiving of Christ through the word; the one maketh way for the other, the promise for our affiance in Christ. Faith that assents to the promise doth also accept of Christ; there is an act terminated on his person. Faith is not assensus axiomati [assent to an axiom], a naked assent to the propositions of the word, but a consent to take Christ, that we may rely upon him, and obey him as an all-sufficient Saviour.
 

Presbyterian Deacon

Puritan Board Graduate
Thankfulness and Love: Manton on 2 Cor 5:14

2 Cor. 5:14
"For the love of Christ constraineth us;..."

"There must be thankfulness in the resolution to become the Lord's, for no bands will so strongly hold us to duty as the bands of love; when the soul is filled with admirations of his grace, and a ravishing sense of the wonders of his love in Christ, we do most kindly, heartily, and thoroughly surrender ourselves to God."

Manton's Works (vol. 11: pg. 250).
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
It is a term I believe I have seen before, but what is 'closing with Christ' in the way Manton meant it here?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
It is a term I believe I have seen before, but what is 'closing with Christ' in the way Manton meant it here?

He goes on to describe the explicit acts of faith:

The explicit acts, when a soul thus humbled casts itself upon Christ for grace, mercy, and salvation. This may be explained with respect to the two great ordinances, i.e., the word and prayer, which are, as it were, a spiritual dialogue between God and the soul. In the word, God speaketh to us; in prayer, we speak to God. God offereth Christ to us in the word, and we present him to God in prayer. So that the acts of faith are to accept of Christ as offered, and then to make use of him in our communion with God; and by this shall you know whether you do believe in him.
 

Presbyterian Deacon

Puritan Board Graduate
It is a term I believe I have seen before, but what is 'closing with Christ' in the way Manton meant it here?

Closing with Christ is Puritan for that "resolution to become the Lord's," it is the thorough surrendering of oneself to God.

In our vernacular we might refer to it as "recieving Christ as our Savior and Lord."
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
This is similar to a point Hugh Martin made in The Abiding Presence in the section on 'the Spirit as the author of all reality in religion', speaking of how it is 'the things' of the Spirit of God that the natural man cannot receive:

'Take, for example, the doctrine of forgiveness. who can tell how profoundly you may study it; how acutely you may argue it; how clearly you may teach it, how instructive to others your statement and exposition of it may be? Forgiveness -- as a topic of speculation -- may be one among the thoughts of your mind; and, in this light, even as a natural man, you may possibly do great justice to the theme. But forgiveness as a privilege -- actual and real forgiveness -- must be not one of the thoughts of your spirit, but one of the thoughts of God's Spirit: one of those thoughts of peace and not of evil which He knows that He thinks concerning you (Jer. 29:11); the thoughts of God, not transient and inefficient like your own thoughts, but substantial, effectual, eternal; the thoughts of God, which in their self-realizing substantiality are worthy to be called "the things" of God. Forgiveness to bee real must be one of these things of the Spirit of God; and in that view, without God's Spirit you cannot discern it. As a mere thought, or doctrine, in your mind, it is altogether unreal; an abstraction; a shadowy, unsubstantial, nothing. Scanned and studied to eternity it would leave you unforgiven still. As one of the things of God -- real, and that may be grasped and held fast -- you are forgiven when you see it and receive it.
'Adoption, in like manner, you may deal with merely as a doctrine, giving it a place among your thoughts. And you may master all its details and bearings. But still it may remain unreal to you. As an actual reality, as an act of God's free grace, a real transaction conferring real privilege, it is among the things of God -- those things which the natural man does not receive, neither can he know them.
'Ah! it is this dealing with Divine doctrines, to the exclusion of Divine things which the faithfulness of God has enshrined in them, that leaves so many with a religion destitute of the element of reality; and destitute, therefore, of power and comfort and refreshment.
'But if our religion is to be real, if the real things of the Spirit are to be introduced into it, it is the Spirit Himself that must introduce them. The Spirit will be the author of this reality.'

He goes on to write of how the Spirit testifies of Christ and indwelling us, gives a religion of personal relationship -- fellowship with Christ.
 
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